They have given developers and businesses a way to innovate and build successful solutions that meet both their demands and those of their customers. APIs have also simplified software development in that developers can get an API with the functionalities that they need then implement them, delivering applications faster. Digitization would not be where it is today if it was not for APIs.
However, this success comes with its demands. Modern businesses have multiple or even hundreds of APIs running their daily operations. This means that the APIs have to be managed and monitored from the time of inception to the time they are retired. In a situation where a single API fails, core business operations might be affected leading to the closure of businesses. It is, therefore, important for businesses to keep an eye on the operations of their APIs.
API Management and API Gateway
Today, you will find developers talking about API management vs API gateway due to the influence of the two when building APIs. These two are different. While API management is an entire process, API gateway is a tool within API management.
API management can be defined as the process of building and releasing APIs and making sure that their usage policies are enforced, usage statistics are collected and analyzed, access is controlled, and performance metrics are collected and analyzed.
On the other hand, an API gateway is a tool within API management that is responsible for accepting all incoming calls, redirecting them to the right resources, and then getting the response and routing it back to the source of the call. The two are very vital to the success of an API. This explains why businesses need to make sure that they have them both implemented properly.
Implementing Proper API Gateway and Management
As discussed above, it is vital for businesses to implement proper API gateway and management. To do that, they need to pay attention to a number of things, namely;
Observability and Monitoring
Most APIs are connected to third-party applications for them to work. For instance, most of them are connected to an authentication API that, on the other hand, depends on a database. When a single API fails, the developers responsible for the API should be notified even though it does not mean that the entire system could be broken.
Businesses should have a team that knows all the APIs that they use to make monitoring and alerting easier. In a situation where the team does not notice when an API fails until they start getting customer complaints, it will be quite difficult to establish which API has failed, why it failed, and how to rectify it.
This is what businesses should think of when implementing an API management system. They should get a system that comes with a proper API gateway tool that is capable of alerting them when there are failures or when things are not working the way they are supposed to. This should happen even before customers start noticing the issues. In addition, the API gateway should actually show the parts of an API that are not working well. This makes it easy for businesses to get rid of the problems affecting their APIs.
Authentication and Security
Most API management platforms come with a number of authentication methods such as JSON Web Tokens, OAuth, and basic API authentication. However, one important key to implementing proper API management is to make sure that you have the right authentication methods that will keep your APIs secure. Businesses should monitor and track each of their APIs independently to check for any security vulnerabilities.
In addition, businesses can get an API gateway tool that handles API authentication for them. The gateway makes sure that requests are directed to the right resources, and each request gets data depending on the permissions from its source. This is important when implementing API management.
Finally, API management should encourage businesses to have all their APIs documented and available in a central location. This is important in having all teams follow the same guidelines when building APIs. With such a setup, even if different teams are working on different APIs, they can easily switch roles and keep working without any issues.
In addition, a new team could take over the development and maintenance of an API after some time. Businesses that have implemented proper API management and gateway will find the transition easy. This is because there is clear documentation that makes things easy.
Businesses should make sure that they have implemented proper API gateway and management strategies if their APIs are to meet their expectations. It is, therefore, important for them to pay attention to observability and monitoring, authentication and security, and documentation.